Please see a very special "Alumni Advice" column below from Khayman Winfield who is Hector Anchondo's drummer. The Hector Anchondo band was in the finals at the International Blues Challenge this past January. It is the first time any band from Nebraska has made it to the finals. Khayman's comments are absolutely golden and worth reading and re-reading by BluesEd students.
A little behind the scene comment here, Khayman had just had a severe house fire the night before I contacted him to write this column. Even though his living situation and practice facility was in complete turmoil, Khayman still took the time to write this tremendous piece of advice for our students. You are one classy human being Khayman! We wish you the best.
Name: Khayman Winfield
Band: When I started in the Youth Artist Development Project, we didn't have a band name, when it became BluesEd and we named the bands, I was in The Blues Wanderers and the other band was The Side Effects.
Years in BluesEd: I started in BluesEd before it was even BluesEd, it was the Youth Artist Development Project (2001) and there was only one band back then. 3 guitarists, me, one singer and the guy who started the program, Doug Baker, played bass. I believe I was 10 when I started and 17 when I left the program.
Any Current Music Projects: Right now, I am in the Hector Anchondo Band touring nationally.
What was your Favorite BluesEd moment: My favorite Blues Ed moment was really a collection of moments. We used to get to open Playing with Fires down on the river and I was lucky enough to get to open and share the same stage as Johnny Winter, Malford Milligan and other incredible musicians. The times we had running around Playing with Fire with members of the different bands and our friends, I will never forget! By far, some of the fondest memories of my childhood!
What advice would you give to current BluesEd students: As far as advice I would give, STICK WITH IT!!! Don't get discouraged because you play a bad show, or have a bad solo. No one plays the perfect show every show, the trick is being able to mess up and roll with it. Mistakes are going to happen, they are inevitable! How you play through it and how you show it are the things that set apart rookies from pros.
Also, don't take your time in BluesEd for granted! Every single musician and person around you, you CAN learn from. The lessons I learned in BluesEd have been INVALUABLE to me in my music career AND in life. Thanks to BluesEd, I had a HUGE jump on people who weren't in the program on understanding how to jam with people, how to play with other musicians, how to be professional on and off stage at shows (because believe it or not, people DO notice how you act off stage), how to play with dynamics and MANY other things. Always think about this, does it make the song better or does it make me sound more impressive? It should ALWAYS be about the song. What can you do to make the song better?
I cannot stress how much my time in BluesEd has helped me further my musical career beyond the program!! Pay attention when you're in workshops, even if the clinician isn't talking to you. You never know what you may be able to learn! But above all else, enjoy every second of it! You will never get this time in your life back. Enjoy every show and every practice! The memories that you're making now will fuel you through any tough times you may have in life or your musical career.